Saturday, April 30, 2016

Triangle Pair

I finished the Triangles quilts I made for my brothers. One is already flying across the country, the other needs to have beauty shots taken.

Wanda always says there's no magic quite like a quilt made with one block, and she's right.

The quilt was made from stash, and so was the back.

Here it is laid out flat. Although this quilt is made from blocks that are half black and half white, notice how the quilt "reads" as mostly black.

One of the things I find interesting about quilts is how often the binding tells the quilt what color it is.  Triangle Twirl has just as much black as white in the quilt, yet because the quilt has light edges and a light binding, the quilt "reads" as white.

Here's the from stash made backing of Triangle Twirl. After its beauty shots and a trip through the washing machine, it will take a trip to its new home in Colorado.

Here's a closeup of Triangle Twirl's quilting.

Friday, April 29, 2016

New Hampshire Barns

I never realized barns were different all around the country until I saw the quilts from the SSOBB.   Reading the comments on my two barn posts, this fact was raised again and again.  Many of you have never seen barns connected to houses.  Which, naturally, I find very interesting, because they are all over the place around here.

When I drive to Quilted Threads "the back way," I pass through the towns of Goffstown, Weare, Dunbarton and Henniker NH.
These are some of the houses with attached barns I pass along the way. These photos are from Google Maps.

 Here are more NH barns...

This is the back of the Quilted Threads quilt shop in Henniker NH.

This is the pig farm barn with its attached house.

Many commenters mentioned the barns looked like houses. I don't think they do. Now you can decide for yourself.

PS, the giveaway is still on. On Saturday I will pick a name at random from the comments on Monday's post

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

SSOBB Blog Hop - Pig Farm Barn

This is part two of my contribution to the Secret Society of Barn Builders Blog Hop for Julie Sefton's book, Build-a-Barn.

Now, you have to know that Julie is my best friend. I love her to bits, which means I have no reservations about telling her exactly what I think. And while she was on her barn binge I kept telling her that I rarely saw barns where I lived in Southern NH.

It was only partly true. I lived in Manchester, NH's biggest city, for over 50 years. There aren't many barns left in the city proper. But the real story is I wasn't looking. I wasn't paying attention. Take this barn, above.

Sure, it looks creepy. The photo is from Google Maps and was taken on a cold gray day in mid-winter. This barn is located a half mile away from my mother's house. She lived on this road for twenty years and for twenty years whenever I visited my mother I drove by this barn. It wasn't like I could ignore it. It was a pig farm and it stank to high heaven. My son would hold his breath while we drove by.

Yet somehow I persisted in my ignorance of barns in the area where I lived.

Two months before Julie created the SSOBB, I bought my Mother's house. When Julie asked if I would build a barn, I thought of the Henniker barn. I was working on that barn when I drove by the pig farm barn and TAH DAH, it hit me. O HOLY CRAP, THERE'S A BARN A HALF MILE FROM MY HOUSE.


Inspiration hit.

I texted Julie, "Right down the road is a PURPLE barn -- gotta photograph that! The purple is asphalt siding and it looks greenish in the sunlight. It used to be a pig farm."

Julie texted back almost immediately, “No way re purple barn with pigs… The surprise barn I pulled fabrics for is a purple stripe with green/pink swirls for barnyard with pink flying pigs sky fabric… WHAT a coincidence!”

That did it. I simply HAD to make a purple barn.

 It went together so quick I don't have in process photos of it. The doors were the most distinctive part of this barn, so I took great care to try to indicate how fussy they really were. Many of the windows were broken, so I used a grey to indicate that one pane of glass was still intact.

Since the Google photo was taken, the barn has been renovated. Modern windows have replaced the old ones, and a new metal roof has been installed. The purple siding has been removed on all but the front of the barn's facade.

I decided to build the barn of my memory, and not to include the attached house. (The overwhelming majority of barns in New England are attached to houses via "outbuildings." These are great for comfort, because getting from the house to the barn in winter is very cold, but it also meant that if a barn burned down, the house often went with it.)

Since I had removed the house from the barn, I needed to set it in space, so I added a fence on both sides.

For the stockade fence surrounding the barn, I used a novelty fabric of rulers. Partly because I was lazy, but mostly because, hell, if you've got something in your stash that's so damn perfect, you USE IT! The green fabric was cut and then resewn together into "made fabric" to suggest the mountains in the far distance.

You don't see a lot of red barns in New Hampshire. Most of them are white, and yellow barns are common. But I've never seen another purple one anywhere.

You can read a bit more about these two barns here.

The entire SSOBB Blog Hop schedule can be found here. 

PS, the giveaway is still on. I will pick a name at random from the comments on Monday's post

Monday, April 25, 2016

SSOBB Blog Hop - The Henniker Barn

I am delighted to kick off the Free Pieced Barn Project's Blog Hop of members of the SSOBB - the Secret Society of Barn Builders - created by Julie Sefton to test her process notes for her book, Build-A-Barn.

You can see the complete Blog Hop Schedule here.   

When Julie asked if I would build a barn for the Gallery section of her book, Build-a-Barn,  I knew exactly which barn I would represent in fabric.  I didn't quite remember exactly when this barn began to attract my attention, so I had to go back through my photos to find out.

Although I had been a regular customer of Quilted Threads since 2009, it wasn't until November of 2011 when I was pulling out of a parking space at Quilted Threads (located in Henniker NH) that I looked up and saw - really saw - this house across the street. I looked around to make sure nobody was behind me, put the car in park and took this photo. At the time I was interested in the house, as I was in the process of making my Four Seasons quilt which is pictured in Julie's book on page 9.

This is amazing on so many levels. The Four Seasons quilt is the quilt that inspired Julie to make a "house" quilt, except not with houses, with barns.  When she told me, I said, "They're the same basic construction. Go for it." And go she did.

But I digress.

Every time I'd visit Quilted Threads (and they are still my absolute all time favorite quilt shop and the best quilt shop I have ever seen anywhere), I'd check out the house across the street. When Julie visited NH in 2014, we took a trip to QT and Julie, unsurprisingly, took this photo of the barn.

Now, I was involved with Julie's book right from the start. We discussed the whole plan, the concept, the how-to of it, and everything else. When Julie asked if I would be willing to build a barn using her process notes to test them out, I agreed without hesitation.

The Henniker barn had several beautiful elements: the lovely proportions of the barn itself, the graceful cupola with the curved roof topped with the running horse weathervane, the nine birdhouses built into the peak, and the typical New England coloring - white with gray.               

When, a week later after my company's holiday party, I got half a day off and a fifty dollar gift card, I knew just what to do. I drove out to Henniker to take photos of the barn and buy fabric.

I mean, what else would I do? I bought a heavily printed WOW with a strong rectilinear design to use as the siding, some gray and brown fabrics for the roofs, granite and dirt ramp, and some blue for the sky. From my stash I chose a dark blue batik for the windows, and then sewed a quarter inch grid over it with grey thread to indicate the window sashing.

To indicate the separate barn doors, I sewed a thin strip of gray between the two blue doors. Every barn I've seen in New Hampshire has that row of windows above the door, and the doors usually slide open.

The barn has a large dirt ramp to the big front door, supported on either side by huge granite blocks.  When Julie was in NH she couldn't believe the curbstones here are solid granite. "Well," I explained, "the snowplows would destroy them otherwise..."

You really have to think about how you're going to join pieces together when you make a barn, or any building in a setting. I had to add the lone pine tree on the left, under the eaves, before I added the sky fabric. As you can see, I printed a large photo of the real barn to use as reference.

Julie hadn't asked the SSOBB to recreate real barns in fabric, but that's what many of us did. These barns seemed to speak to us, and link us to our heritage and history of the areas where we live.

I had to determine how much of the adjoining house to add on the right and I had to figure out a way to indicate the mass of leafless trees behind the house. I used a Seminole patchwork technique to build them.

The cupola also required a lot of thought. I selected a fabric with letterscript to represent the louvers on the cupola, and as you can see I used four thin strips of fabric to indicate the roofline and the shadow it created on the facade of the barn itself.

 I didn't know how to indicate the birdhouse holes, and considered using these small wire dress hooks, but they didn't look good, so I ended up using an eyelet stitch on my sewing machine.

The finished Henniker barn block.

Chris quilted it beautifully. I sent her photos of the real barn so she could incorporate elements from it: the horizontal siding, the diagonal slats on the barn doors, and the vertical siding on the lower door. She included the breezy winter winds in the sky.

Here you can see that Chris filled in the eyelet holes I made for the birdhouses, and you can see the threadlines to indicate the windowpanes in the traditional nine-over-six windows commonly found throughout houses in New England built at that time.

 I thought I had noticed everything about this barn, but I missed something really interesting.

The barn's west wall is red.

I actually made TWO barns for Julie. I'll tell you about the second one on Wednesday. Stay tuned.

Now the fun begins. I'm having a giveaway of Julie's book, "Build-a-Barn". If you are interested in a copy, leave a comment on THIS POST! I will select a winner at random on Saturday April 30, and announce the winner on Sunday May 1.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Topaz Beach

I was finishing up sewing the blocks for the Baby Snaps quilt and my son & DIL sent me this photo, taken at Topaz Beach. 

They live two miles from the ocean and continue to taunt me with photos like this on a regular basis.

You know what Serendipity is, don't you?  So check this out:

This is the baby snaps quilt (for said DS and DIL). The quilt just named itself. "Topaz Beach."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

AQS Paducah

My quilt, The Black & White Crayons, entry # 4-1528 at AQS Paducah this week.

My quilt, Too Much Chicken, entry # 4-1214, also at AQS Paducah this week.

I can't remember the categories, Wall Quilts under 60" wide and possibly Modern Quilts, but with the numbers you ought to be able to locate them if you wish.

If you go to Paducah Kentucky this week and see my quilts, take a selfie with them and send it to me. Email it to patcherymenagerie AT gmail DOT com. If you want, send me your snail mail address, and I'll send you a postcard of the Crayons quilt (but only if I get a picture of you with it).

Tell me what you think. Here are some things to look for.

The Black and White Crayons has over 80 different fabrics, 60 different black and white, and about 10 different WOWs and 10 BOBs. Can you see the difference in the binding on the left and right sides of the quilt? Can you see how the different fabrics in each letter work to make the letter? Can you figure out what's common about the letters that straddle the divide?

Too Much Chicken has three foxes and several "jokes". Can you find the lazy A or the backwards S, and the drunken chicken? How many different fabrics did I use in the background? Can you figure out what happens to the Chicken words as you get to the bottom of the quilt?

Have fun looking for, and finding all the little things I have so much fun putting in.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Baby Snaps

The Snaps blocks go so quick it's easy to get halfway through without stopping to take pictures.

The longest thing was cutting out the pieces.

I wanted the lights to be colorful and fun. There are houses and cats, and animal prints, and confetti and scribbles.

I wanted the blues to be soft and the yellows to be warm, and I wanted some of the contrasting blocks to be bright and fun.

Here are a few of the blocks all sewn together.

Yes, that's a dragon's head in the center blue block on the left, and yes, that's a fussy cut bug on the right.

It's funny, when I sent my son photos of the blocks up on the wall, he texted back, "It doesn't really sing for me. Sorry."

I texted back, telling him the photos were taken at night when the studio's light isn't very good. He replied that it wasn't as bright as he expected, and that probably that was it.

 But I'm not worried. I know that photos never capture my quilts as well as they look in real life, and to get the whole quilt, I have to get so far away that you miss all the little details. I also know that my dear son is the one who told me he didn't like half the fabrics I selected for his Sunshine quilt, yet when it was finished, he adored it, and sleeps under it every night with his dear wife.

Sunshine indeed. I think this quilt may need to be called something that connects sun and the beach. Oh Julie... and others, any suggestions?